13 SES 12 A, The Language of Pedagogy: History, Theory, Policy and Practice
The purpose of this paper is to renew interest in the continental tradition of pedagogics in Anglo-American educational discourse and to give a language for practical pedagogy as presented in the first paper. Contemporary Anglo-American discourse makes little reference to the continental tradition, traces of it in Dewey’s work, or, indeed, pedagogy. More often, contemporary education scholarship and policy in the U.S. and elsewhere focus, at least implicitly, on either ‘evidence-based’ or instrumental programs that ‘work’ for success in high academic outcomes or critical pedagogy that addresses the needs of increasingly culturally diverse students. This scholarship provides contributions to a language of innovation and economic metrics, on the one hand, and contributions to language of cultural sensitivity, on the other hand, but not a language of pedagogy. Thus, this paper provides a brief overview of the continental tradition of pedagogy and the last foothold of these in John Dewey’s educational theorizing. For Dewey, education was a means of serving the democratic process in society as well as a means to facilitate or serve pedagogically a child’s growth (Bildung). Dewey (1966/1916) argued that democracy is not just a political system but an ethical ideal with active informed participation by citizens whereby established beliefs and theories should be critically questioned and revised in the light of developments, pragmatically evolving to meet the needs of changing times. Here education has a moral purpose. Dewey also understood the importance of the dialectic, trying to keep pragmatism with the scientific method at tension with philosophy as the theory of education in his focus on growth/Bildung, inquiry, and experience yet the forces of science of the time (e.g. Thorndike) overwhelmed Dewey’s theorizing. Further, Dewey’s (1897) appreciation for the pedagogical bond as well as implicit considerations of pedagogical tact (Herbart 1806) could be the beginning of building up a pedagogical terminology again. Thus, we dig deeper into Dewey’s concept of inquiry, goal- orientedness, and child-centeredness. The paper concludes with a call to return to the continental European foundations of education and pedagogy in order to go forward with the North American education theorizing that Dewey initiated. As examples, we recognize the need to further consider and renew important conceptual associations and implications (e.g. agency, pedagogical relationships, the dignity of children, and children understanding each other as human beings). We hope this paper will be helpful to inform this effort and a cross-continental dialogue about education and pedagogy
Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education (1916). Jo Ann Boydston (ed.). The Middle Works of John Dewey, 9, 1899-1924. Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed (No. 25). EL Kellogg & Company. Herbart, Johann F. ( 1902): The Science of Education: Its General Principles Deduced From its Aim and the Aesthetic Revelation of the World (transl. by H.M. Felkin & E. Felkin). Boston, MA: D. C. Heath.
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